The cave entrance is seen during a ceremony for members of the Wild Boars soccer team, during their return to the Tham Luang caves where they were trapped in a year ago, in Chiang Rai, Thailand, June 24, 2019. REUTERS/Soe Zeya Tun
BANGKOK (Reuters) – A Thai navy SEAL who took part in the dramatic rescue of 12 boys and their soccer coach from a flooded cave in northern Thailand last year has died from a blood infection he contracted during the operation, the Royal Thai Navy said on Friday.
Petty Officer Beiret Bureerak had been receiving treatment, but his condition worsened, the navy said in a statement.
Another rescuer, former navy diver Sergeant Saman Kuman, died during the rescue operation.
Wild Boars Academy’s coach Ekapol Chanthawong and 12 boys had gone to explore the Tham Luang caves in Chiang Rai province on June 23, 2018, when a rainy-season downpour flooded the cave system and trapped them underground.
They survived for nine days on water dripping from rocks before they were discovered. Volunteers from abroad joined the rescue effort, which ended on July 10 when the boys and their coach were all brought out safely.
Reporting by Jiraporn Kuhakanand Chayut Setboonsarng; Editing by Frances Kerry